Ghana encountered a significant setback in their quest for a spot in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Round of 16 as they settled for a 2-2 draw with Mozambique, thereby presenting Egypt with the chance to secure the second position in Group B.
As Ghana confronts the disheartening possibility of an early exit from the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) during the group stage, pivotal lessons have emerged from their recent 2-2 draw against Mozambique. With their qualification hopes now hanging by a precarious thread, here are five crucial insights gleaned from Ghana’s AFCON campaign.
Chris Hughton’s defensive approach draws Criticism
Ghana coach Chris Hughton, faced scrutiny for adopting a defensive mindset when the team had control of the game. Substitutions like bringing in defensive players when leading 2-0 against Mozambique backfired, raising questions about the need for a more balanced approach that capitalises on the team’s attacking strengths.
Lack of concentration and costly errors continue to plague Ghana
Ghana’s inability to maintain focus in crucial moments haunted them throughout the tournament. Late goals conceded against Cape Verde, Egypt, and Mozambique showcased a recurring issue. The failure to see out games effectively and avoid lapses in concentration contributed significantly to their disappointing group stage campaign.
Defensive lapses, such as Andre Ayew conceding a penalty and goalkeeper Richard Ofori‘s costly mistake against Mozambique, highlighted a trend of individual errors impacting the team. The previous match against Egypt witnessed errors from Inaki Williams and Osman Bukari, resulting in goals. Addressing these mistakes is paramount for future success.
Kudus: Don’t sub a game changer
Mohammed Kudus emerged as a vital player for Ghana, demonstrating his ability to influence matches with moments of brilliance. The decision to sub him off in the 89th minute against Mozambique proved costly, as the opponents capitalised on his absence to secure an equaliser. The consensus is that Kudus should be retained for the full 90 minutes, regardless of tactical considerations because he may always need a moment to perform magic.
Players urged to take responsibility
Criticism was directed at the overall commitment levels of the Black Stars players. The lack of urgency, occasional lapses in effort, and a sense that some players are indifferent to representing Ghana raised concerns. Calls have been made for a system to develop local talents rather than relying on players with less commitment, some of whom were persuaded to switch allegiance.
As Ghana reflects on their AFCON journey, these lessons provide valuable insights for the team’s future development and a renewed focus on addressing underlying issues to ensure a more competitive showing in upcoming tournaments.
Jordan Ayew should take penalties not free-kicks
Jordan Ayew’s clinical execution from the penalty spot emerged as a positive note for Ghana. Scoring both penalties for the team showcased his precision and reliability in critical moments. While Ayew’s free-kick attempts may not have yielded the desired results, his proficiency in penalty kicks presents an opportunity for Ghana to capitalize on set-piece situations. Let that role be his and someone else can take free-kicks.
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